When I was little, it was kind of dangerous to be too girlie. Dresses might invite unwanted caresses, so I wore Toughskin jeans and Osh-Kosh overalls. My sister might dream of frilly dresses, but I wanted running shoes. I was a rough-and-tumble kid. I climbed trees and stomped on slugs. I had short hair. I read books under the covers and got good grades. But I was not a girlie-girl.
I secretly longed for something girlie. I grew my hair long – down to my waist. My neighbor taught me belly dance and while I was careful not to be too sexy, I adored the shiny exotic costumes. I loved to dance. I still climbed trees and walked and walked to escape my problems. I hated that I had to wear a bra before any other girl in my grade. It was the 80’s, and I wore business suits to school as a different kind of armor.
I desperately wanted to wear make-up to middle school like all of the other girls, but I wasn’t allowed. I couldn’t wear anything with a hemline higher than my knees because it might distract the boys from their studies. I despaired of ever fitting in and went for being as weird as possible. I went against my father’s wishes and cut off all my hair. He told me I looked like a lesbian. I got glasses and my mother told me that boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses. I went blind rather than wear those glasses.
As an adult, I feel echoes of all of these things still lingering in the shadows. I love to get my hair cut and dyed. I feel like I finally look like me. But I also feel all kinds of guilt about the time and expense. I think about cutting my hair incredibly short, but worry that I’ll look like I don’t care about myself – my dad’s idea of a lesbian. I think about not coloring my hair, but I’m totally gray. I’m vain enough to not want my youth stolen from me. I want to be kind of girlie.
I’m still learning how to apply make-up. Even after years of modeling and burlesque I don’t know how. Or rather, the only setting I have is “over the top.” It was the drag queens I grew up around who solidified my ideals of girlieness. I do lush and full-blown pretty well. False eyelashes are my occasional joyous celebration of the BOOM in chica-boom. Don’t even get me started on lingerie!
Today was my date with Harold. He painted my toenails for me. It’s so sweet. It wasn’t a power game, just him caring for me in a way that means a lot to me. I love to be pampered. I adore pedicures. It’s lovely to have him hold my feet and make me pretty. We went from there to amazingly hot sex with intense orgasms. (Carefully of course, so as not to mess up the toes!) But afterwards I had flashbacks and slid into sleep to escape the danger.
It is dangerous to be too much of a girl. Girlie-girls have some mysterious power to turn men into assholic animals who are no longer able to comprehend simple language like “no.” Well no more. I’m taking it back. I’m gonna be a dangerous girlie, a femme fatale, where a single glance at my fierce femininity might render you speechless and freeze you in your tracks. Cuz this girlie shit is mine, and I’m takin’ it back.